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Text 6. 5 Ways to Shake Shyness

Having a shy style isn't necessarily a problem. It's perfectly OK to take time before you start a close relationship with new people and situations. But shyness blocks some people from being as comfortable or sociable as they'd like to be. Some people want to feel less shy so they can have more fun socializing and being themselves around others. Here are some tips to overcome shy feelings:

1. Start small talk with people you know. (small talk: informal, friendly conversation about unimportant subjects ▪ They made small talk while waiting for the meeting to start.). Practice social behaviors like eye contact, confident body language, introductions, small talk, asking questions, and invitations with the people you feel most comfortable around.Smile. Build your confidence this way. Then begin to do this with new friends, too.

2. Think of some conversation starters. Often, the hardest part of talking to someone new is getting started. Think of conversation openers, like introducing yourself ("Hi, I'm Chris, we're in the same English class"), giving a compliment ("That jacket looks great on you"), or asking a question ("Do you know when our report is due?") expected to happen. Being ready with a conversation starter (or a few) makes it easier to approach someone. (to be due = expected to happen: Your books are due back to the library (by/on) May 15. [=you must return your books to the library by May 15] ▪ The movie is due out this summer. [=the movie is supposed to be released in theaters this summer] ▪ They are due to arrive any minute now.

3. Practice what to say. When you're ready to try something you've been avoiding because of shyness — like a phone call or a conversation — write down what you want to say beforehand. Practice it out loud, maybe even in front of the mirror. Then just do it. Don't worry if it's not exactly like you practiced or if it's not perfect. Be proud that you gave it a go (=made an attempt). Next time, it'll be even better because it will be easier.

4. Give yourself a chance. Find group activities where you can be with people who share your interests. Give yourself a chance to practice socializing with these new people, and get to know them slowly. People who are shy often worry about failing or how others will judge them. Worries and feelings like these can keep you from trying. If self-criticism plays a role for you, ask yourself whether you'd be this critical of your best friend. Chances are you'd be much more accepting. So treat yourself like your own best friend. Encourage yourself instead of expecting to fail.

5. Develop your confidence. Because shy people can be very much concerned with other peoples' reactions, they don't want to rock the boat (rock the boat informal : to cause trouble by changing or trying to change a situation that other people do not want to change ▪ Don't rock the boat. ▪ The system isn't perfect, but it's been this way for a long time and nobody wants to rock the boat). That doesn't mean they're too afraid to do what is right or expected. But it can mean they are less likely to be confident. Being confident means speaking up for yourself when you should, asking for what you want or need, or telling other people when they're stepping on your toes. (step on someone's toes informal : to do something that upsets or offends someone ▪ You might step on the toes of some important people with this project. ▪ I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

Most of all, be yourself. It's OK to try out different conversational approaches you see others using. But say and do what fits your style. Being the real you — and having enough courage or confidence to let yourself be noticed — is what attracts friends.

to fit = to be in agreement with (something or someone) ▪ Their story doesn't fit the facts. ▪ He fits [=matches] the description perfectly. = The description fits him perfectly.

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